3 state workers hurt in explosion at Shore plant

March 21, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Three state workers were injured yesterday in an explosion at a Cambridge sewage treatment plant, officials said.

Robert Craig Russell, 42, of St. Michaels, and Rexford T. Powell, 40, of Dagsboro, Del., were in critical but stable condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Hall J. Carter, 43, of Cambridge, was being treated last night at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. His condition was unknown.

Cambridge police, firefighters and paramedics were called to the Maryland Environmental Services' Trenton Street Pumping Station -- which supplies water to the Eastern Shore city -- at 3:16 p.m. after a "pressurized explosion" from a valve seal, police said.

The three men had put a 16-inch plug on a sewage pipe to examine it, when pressure built up behind the plug, blasting it back at the workers and injuring them, MES spokesman Welford McLellan said.

James W. Peck, MES director, said officials do not know what sparked the explosion. Maryland Occupational Safety and Health is investigating.

Peck said this is the first such accident at a plant operated by MES.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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